OK, let’s be honest….who wants to go to Patagonia, New Zealand, Japan, Australia?….I bet most of you will say YES! So what’s holding you back???
Time, money, distance….
Time…you deserve to have 2-3 week vacations, so that’s not a problem.
Money…about this we can talk next time.
Distance…yes, that might be a hold-back, but it shouldn’t. I used to think the same. If I have to fly 22 hours I should go for a month or so….but how do you get 1 month off from work? It’s like an egg and a chicken.
Finally, we decided that nothing should stop us and we should fly to the furthest place we want to.
New Zealand was our top dream destination. It takes at least 20 hours to fly from New York to Auckland, and we wanted to fly even further to Christchurch.
So how can you survive such a long flight?
Choose the Best Airlines
Remember, you will be stuck in one plane for 10-15 hours so choose your airlines carefully. Pay attention to airlines ranking, read what they offer, check pictures on the Internet, and read some reviews. There are a lot of airlines that can get you to New Zealand. Air New Zealand was the obvious choice. They operate on this route for many years, they’ve frequently topped a lot of rankings and their premium economy class is the best I’ve seen. I’ve noticed that Air New Zealand is one of the top 10 best airlines in the world. They’re also winning awards for their great service and cabin class innovations.
Choose Your Seat in Advance. If Possible Upgrade to a Better Class
Air New Zealand has a great premium economy class (not to mention a fantastic business class). The premium economy is a luxury travel experience in an affordable price. For $3,000 per person you can fly from the US to Auckland NZ in a cabin where the ambiance is more like Business Class than Economy.
If you can’t afford premium economy, choose economy with extra leg-room. Air New Zealand offers Skycouch. It’s an innovation that I haven’t seen in any other airline. This is a great solution for parents with kids. I had a chance sitting in the Skycouch row. I tested it. It’s pretty cool. Imagine sleeping on 3 seats. If there are two adults it’s still convenient but you may have to huddle. For parent and 1-2 kids it’s perfect. Your kid will enjoy it a lot. If you fly a different airline, get the extra leg room to make your flight more comfortable.
Conclusion, don’t be cheap on your seat! I know most airlines charge extra for choosing your seat but it’s worth to pay a bit extra and get more leg room, a window/aisle seat (whatever you prefer), and relax on the flight. Your comfort while traveling is priceless.
Choose a Longer Connection Time
At the beginning, you may want to have a 1-2 hour connection and move to the next plane. However, the short connection is risky and you might find it hard if there are any delays beyond your control. We flew from NY to LA (6 hours) and then from LA to Auckland (13 hours) and the last one Auckland to Christchurch (1.5 hours). We actually decided to have a 6-hour transit in LA. I know you may think we’re crazy but it’s not that bad if you get out of the airport. We took a cab to Santa Monica, took a walk on the boardwalk and had lunch at a nice Italian Restaurant. After this short break, we almost forgot that just few hours back we had flown for 6 hours.
Our plane to Auckland was delayed and we couldn’t make it to the next flight. Luckly, Air New Zealand rebooked us when we were in the air and the captain just informed us about the change. This was really thoughtful and saved us a lot of stress and unnecessary hurry. So you see, it’s risky to have short transfer time. And again – great airlines will take care of your transfer and save you all the hassle at the airport.
Fewer Planes – Less Stress
Take as few planes as possible. Non-stop flights might be more expensive but are worth paying extra for. Just think how much it’s worth for you to be more relaxed on your vacation, get there faster, and make sure that your family is not completely tired. Priceless – right? So spending a few more dollars to get a non-stop flight is definitely worth it. Choose the best connection and then start checking the price for this specific flight. When the price satisfies you – just go ahead and book it.
Carry On Less, Move Faster
After spending 13 hours in a plane, you definitely would want to stretch. So walk around the airport, do some window shopping at the duty free, etc. Do it without unnecessary carry-on. Keep your carry-on as small and light as possible, carrying just the essentials that you need during the flight. The rest – just check in. You are checking bags anyway so what’s the point in carrying too many things in your carry-on bag?
Headsets, Pillows, and Other Gadgets
Headsets, your pillow, books, and other electronic gadgets should be in your carry-on. Think what you like to do the most and just plan to do it on the plane. Sleeping, reading, playing games, watching movies – these are always the best time killers. So make sure you have a nice neck pillow and a comfy headset to give you the quiet you need to sleep. Take that book you always wanted to read but never get time to. Choose airlines with Wi-fi, power outlet or just huge move selection so you won’t get bored.
There are a lot of rules how to fight the jet-lag. For me there are two main important. First, choose the time of the flight carefully. The top airlines will do it for you. For example Air New Zealand takes off from California at 9:30 pm. Perfect time to have a dinner and go to sleep. You wake-up after 8 hours and realize that there are just 5 more hours to fly – sounds better than 13 hours.
Water, water and more water – I believe that water can help you fight the jet-lag. After long trip your body will be dehydrated so you will be more tired. Drink water as often as you can. Ideally have a bottle with you so you don’t have to bother flight attendant each time you want to take a sip. You will read a lot about not drinking alcohol during the flight. That’s true. You should limit yourself to one drink with the dinner to get you relax. Avoid drinking through the whole flight because it makes you dehydrated even more. I have to admit that Air New Zealand had the best wine I ever had at the plane.
So get ready and enjoy the flight! The whole crew is there to make it as pleasant as possible!
And Air New Zealand is really cool airline to fly with. Just check their safety videos, have you ever seen a better one!